A few years ago I had a several month long series of panic attacks.
My life felt like it was imploding around me… my business was draining me, my love life was exhausting, and I generally felt horrible.
After everything came crashing down around me and my relationship ended, I resisted feeling my emotions in a big way.
And instead of feeling my emotions, I self-medicated with women. Within 48 hours of my relationship ending I had slept with four women.
I used women as a distraction because they were a resource that I had easy access to. And that’s how I saw them… as a resource. They were a tool that I could use to not feel my emotions. They were barely humans. In fact I often resented the women that I slept with because they were allowing me to act out damaging actions (projection/self-loathing).
I would binge on women by sleeping with four or five of them in a weekend. There was no emotion in the sex. That was the point of it. I was engaging with them in order to not feel anything… to numb myself.
But I did feel. I felt a lot. Like I always have.
After a few years of getting away from this bingeing behaviour entirely, I relapsed a few weeks ago.
I was having a rough couple of weeks. My creative energy was stuck and I couldn’t write an article to save my life, I was questioning an integral relationship in my life, and I had three massive unexpected expenses that came out of nowhere.
And with all of this going on, instead of sitting down with my feelings and letting them run through me, I slept with three women in a day and felt like a piece of shit immediately after it had happened. I was running on an unconscious and unhealthy old mental pattern that wasn’t serving me.
And not only did I not feel any better after my last orgasm, I felt remarkably worse.
I was laying next to an absolutely stunning and intelligent woman, whose heart I would have wanted to know prior to engaging sexually with her under any other circumstance, but I didn’t want anything to do with her. Nor did I want anything to do with myself. Even though my orgasm was pleasing enough (aka it adequately numbed my thoughts and emotions for a few seconds) it took everything I had to keep myself from crying.
I immediately set up a session with one of my self-love/life coaches and told her what had happened.
I told her about the anxiety, and the shitty week, and the bingeing behaviour… and the reframe that she gave me changed my world view entirely.
She said “The extent to which you are suffering now, compared to the amount of suffering that you felt when you were engaging in this exact same behaviour years ago, is the extent to which you’ve grown as a person.”
Armed with this new perspective, my thoughts of “What the hell am I doing? I’m so weak for having done this” could be reframed into “I know that this behaviour is very unlike me. This is not in line with who I truly know myself to be. Why am I acting in this manner and what do I really need instead?”
I’m not sure if anyone reading this has ever engaged in near sex-addict like behaviour but I can assure you that it is a dark, unfulfilling place that leads nowhere.
I have learned this lesson for the last time, and I’m glad to be coming out the other end of it with even more self-awareness.
Through this journey, my key takeaways have been:
1. You have to feel whatever feelings are asking to be felt. Every time you resist feeling an emotion it goes down to the basement to lift weights. The emotions will get stronger until you either choose to listen to them or are forced to listen to them (i.e. via panic attacks or damaging bingeing behaviour).
2. People are always willing to help you out if you are courageous enough to ask for it.
3. You can’t get enough of that which won’t satisfy you.